Johnny "Blaze" Robbins

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The current state of Boxing in Canada
By: John Robbins – October 24, 2016

The course of Professional Boxing in Canada in recent times; had seen the top level of the sport of Champions all but slow down to a screeching halt on its own home turf. Everywhere that is, with the exception of the province of Quebec of course, the boxing capital of Canada. Yet even then, gone is the constant barrage of massive sell-out crowds at the Bell Centre in Montreal, showcasing world title fights at Boxing’s highest level on a highly-regular basis. Cards that featured former French Canadian world beaters, Lucien Bute and Jean Pascal, hosting the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Glen Johnson, and Chad Dawson, which culminated when Sergey Kovalev visited “la belle province” and stopped Jean Pascal twice, Kovalev staking his claim to the Light Heavyweight division in the process; and wars where the Quebec based boxing superstars, faced off against each other, for far more than world title belts, but also for bragging rights, as to who the “Baddest man in Quebec” truly was. As well as many other brutal battles that excited audiences around the world, with local favourites of the era including, Librado Andrade and fellow Canadian Adrian Diaconu, all of which now, as the saying goes, are in the history books.

Boxing in Quebec though, always seems to find a way to survive, (unlike in the country’s largest mega-city Toronto), and the Quebec boxing scene has simply refused to die. With the promotional backbone of boxing in Quebec, “G.Y.M. Promotions”, (Groupe Yvon Michel) still leading the charge, and with their world champion, the pound for pound ranked, Adonis “Superman” Stevenson now at the helm of Boxing’s flagship in the most modern of eras, (recently emblazoning his talent regularly in Quebec City, another Boxing hotspot in the province). As well as heavy handed David Lemieux (36-3, 32KOs) under the watchful eye of, “Eye of the Tiger Promotions”, the modern day power punching main attraction thrilling audiences at the Bell Centre, in Montreal as he attempts to work his way back into world title contention. While up-and-comers like the 21 year old, Steven “Bang Bang” Butler (18-0-1, 15KOs) of Montreal, who utterly dominated and destroyed his Canadian counterpart Janks Trotter (10-4-1, 10KOs) from Calgary, on the Bell Centre undercard to David Lemieux recently. (Butler also picked up the IBF North American title belt for his efforts in that knock-out victory). Or the ever formidable, top conditioned, slick and strong, former Canadian Olympian, Custio Clayton (10-0, with 8 KO’s), originally from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, now fighting out of Montreal. Who’s been quietly climbing up the ranks at the Montreal Casino (also in a GYM Promotions production)...Boxing is still alive, well and even thriving in the province of Quebec.

Though Toronto once truly was the home of boxing in Canada, Quebec has now owned that distinction for decades. The fight scene in the mega-city certainly has seen better days. But there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel in Toronto as of late. Since the arrival of Global Legacy Boxing, spear-headed by owners, Les Woods of Port Credit, Ontario alongside legendary Heavyweight Champion, Lennox Lewis. With the additional full support of the Canadian Boxing Legend himself, George Chuvalo, who all share the common goal of bringing back the lustre that professional boxing once held in Canada’s greatest metropolis. The Boxing scene in the G.T.A. (Greater Toronto Area) is once again on the rise!

Already Global Legacy Boxing has brought the WBC World Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson spectacle, with the assistance of Yvon Michel, into the highest profile Canadian venue to host a world title fight outside of Quebec, Canada in ages, Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum. On a card that also featured top American prospect, Errol Spence Jr. in the co-main event. In addition, Global Legacy Boxing has also seen the return of professional boxing to the famed Maple Leafs Gardens, now the Mattamy Athletic Centre, which was once the Mecca of boxing in all of Canada. Finally there is a new promoter in town in Toronto, and along with it, world class boxing events have followed.

Global Legacy Boxing has also put together quite a stable of young, up and coming talent, as they look to continue on forward with their push to restore Boxing in Toronto to its glory days. Much like Yvon Michel has done with GYM ever so masterfully over the years, as well as “InterBox” (another longstanding promotional staple of the thriving boxing business in Quebec), while building up the sport of champions in Canada’s premier boxing province.

This stable of young Canadians that Global Legacy Boxing is now building, includes the recently crowned Commonwealth (British Empire) Cruiserweight Champion, “Dangerous” Denton Daley (16-1, 9KOs) of Brampton, Ontario. An electrifying talent who has boxed professionally exclusively on Canadian soil, and has picked up many explosive finishes along his path of destruction and success. The GLB roster also bolsters another Ontario, Canada native in current Canadian Heavyweight Champion, Dillon “Big Country” Carman (11-2, 10KOs) who has been keeping the fans well entertained in the Canadian Maritime provinces of late, (along with east coast Canadian boxing staples, Tyson Cave (29-3) of Nova Scotia, and Brandon Brewer (20-0-1) from New Brunswick, who aren’t Global Legacy fighters, but who have been the lifeblood of the Maritime Canadian boxing scene for a while now, keeping the sport alive out on the east coast).

Then there’s the six foot, four inch monster, a relative unknown, who’s travelled over to Canada from the Ukraine, bringing with him some seriously devastating power punching, and a solid pedigree of over 247 amateur bouts, Oleksandr “Sasha”, “The Panther” Teslenko! “Sasha” Teslenko is a massive guy who has the boxing scene across Canada buzzing right now with his brutal force, in ring determination, and unlimited potential. Teslenko is still fresh on the professional boxing circuit. But with a record of 7 wins, no losses, and 6 knockout victories under his belt already, Teslenko has also already fought in 5 different Canadian cities, spread over 4 different provinces across the country. In his next scheduled competition (which is on previously uncharted ground for the 24 year old prospect, in Winnipeg, Manitoba) on October 28th, 2016, “The Panther” tour looks to continue to keep on picking up steam, and fans, as he once again attempts s to crush his competition inside the ring, on his way up the boxing charts.

Match-maker, Jim Gentle, formerly of Stele Boxing Promotions, which was a staple of professional boxing in Ontario, Canada for many years, has also added his expertise to the long list of advisors assisting Les Woods and Lennox Lewis’ venture into the promotional side of the squared circle. And it shows in the quality of competitive bouts they’ve already had under the Global Legacy Boxing banner, in the 2 years that they’ve been in the boxing business. Keeping the bouts competitive and entertaining, along with the high level of talent on display, is a major part of what has set Global Legacy Boxing apart from other promotions across Ontario and aside from GYM and InterBox, pretty much all of Canada. As the vast majority of the remaining boxing promoters in the country, are consistently hosting mainly grassroots level matches, with the occasional Canadian Title bout, as their showcase attraction.

Recently, another new promotional group has arrived on the scene in Ontario, Canada as well. “Three Lions Promotions” held their inaugural boxing card in Hamilton, Ontario on October the 1st, 2016. The show was a charity fund raiser for The Robbie Wilcox Cancer Foundation, and Camp Trillium (a childhood cancer support centre) that consisted of ringside tables including dinner service, as well as a high volume of general seating, which showcased a WBA-NABA North American title fight in the main event. A hard fought battle that was won by young Super-Lightweight prospect, Steven “The Piranha” Wilcox (15-1-1). Wilcox is a multi-time Canadian amateur national champion with a bright future in the sport. On the undercard, his younger brother Jessie Wilcox (5-0) also a stand-out former amateur national champion, picked up a win in the brother’s hometown of Hamilton, to the delight of fans who have clamoured about the highly successful and extremely entertaining event ever since.

These new promoters are a much welcomed addition to the handful of longstanding promotional groups that have already existed in the Greater Toronto Area for years. Which obviously is great news for the boxing fans in Ontario, who had been waiting for something big to happen to the sport that used to fill up downtown Toronto’s  Carlton Street, with eager spectators back in Boxing’s heyday once upon a time,  in the now mega-city. All of whom were anticipating action packed showdowns, like George Chuvalo versus “The Greatest of All Time” Muhammad Ali. The same fans who for years would fill the same stadium that the Toronto Maple Leaf’s played in, just to watch closed circuit boxing matches on the big screen. Who prior to Global Legacy Boxing making their mark on the sport in Canada recently, hadn’t seen world title fights on their home soil of that calibre, since the days of Steve “The Canadian Kid” Molitor, when he was in the midst of his long standing reigns as world champion, back when Molitor used to pack the house at Casino Rama, all the way up north of Toronto in Orillia, Ontario. This is definitely a welcomed change for Toronto’s professional Boxing scene. No Doubt. And since the co-owner of Global Legacy Boxing Lennox Lewis’, mother and father, both still live in the province of Ontario, along with a very large Lewis family contingency. It makes perfect since for the former Canadian Olympic Gold Medallist to be such a huge part of this effort to restore the sport of Boxing’s legacy, in the Canada’s largest city.

Looking out to the west, the most notable prize fighter on the horizon, has got to be the Calgary based prospect, Steve “The Dragon” Claggett (24-4-1, 16KOs). Claggett’s record is a bit deceiving if not tainted, in that some of his losses have appeared to be hometown decisions that just didn’t occur in his hometown. And after already having held on to multiple Canadian titles, “The dragon” recently won a war of attrition, in his greatest showcase bout to date, this past September, in Las Vegas, earning himself a WBA–NABA USA title in the process. Claggett is an old throwback type of Boxer/Puncher. Who’s mentality is that he is willing to get in the ring, anytime, anyplace, under almost any circumstances, on his journey to one day contend for a world title. Claggett at 27 years old is an already well travelled road warrior, who’s well schooled in the sweet science, and he’s the kind of fighter who always looks to put on a great show, with no other objectives in mind aside from winning, and thrilling the fans.

Much like in Ontario, the Canadian west coast boxing circuit has had a handful of consistent promoters in recent years, keeping the sport alive. However the vast majority of the competition out west is still at the grassroots level, with local fighters filling up the cards, and the occasional Canadian title bout as the main attraction...or possibly a Women’s world title fight featuring Jelena Mrdjenovich on a KO Boxing Promotions televised event out in Edmonton, Alberta. Keeping the west coast boxing scene relevant of late have been promoters like Calgary’s, Eric De Guzman, and his “Teofista” boxing promotion, who will host the return of Orangeville, Ontario native, Logan McGuiness (23-0-1) on October 28th, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta. As well as “King John Boxing” who is set to host Ontario based fighters, the already touted Oleksandr Teslenko and Steven Wilcox, also on October 28th, 2016 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

There have been many changes in the past couple of years, to the overall complexion of professional boxing in Canada. Most of which has been for the better of the sport, and also for the betterment of the next generation of the sport’s athletes. One thing that has remained consistent in the Canadian boxing scene of late is the resurgence of young fresh talent. New faces making their way up onto the world stage, and their resolve to become something greater, than the confines of the Canadian boxing industry’s standard, for so long now. Meaning, the young and hungry Canadian fighters themselves these days, want more opportunity to grow, to improve, to test their metal against higher level opposition, and they are doing so wherever the opportunities lie. One of the oldest principles of pugilism, “To be the man, you have to beat the man”, has not been lost on this new generation of Canadian pugilists. So whether it’s Shiller Hyppolite (21-1, 14KOs) a rising Super Middleweight who boxes out of Montreal, under Eye of the Tiger Promotions, who’s next bout, the toughest competition he’s faced to date, will be for a piece of WBC hardware in Germany, when he faces a young Turkish fighter named Anvi Yildirim (13-0, 8 KOs) on November 5th, 2016. Or Trois Rivieres, Quebec’s, Mikael Zewski (27-1, 21KOs) who’s fought his last 5 fights outside of Canada. Or Cornwall, Ontario’s, Tony “Lightning” Luis (21-3) who’s fought his last 7 bouts outside of Canada. Or even Toronto, Ontario’s, Phil Lo Greco (27-3, 15KOs) who has faced all 13 of his most recent opponents, outside of his home country of Canada. Professional Boxers on the rise in Canada in this new era, have proven time and time again, that they are willing to travel anywhere that they have to, and fight whoever stands in their way, en route to their final destination...A shot at being called Champion, of the entire world!

 

 

 

 

Why Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez IS the true current “Pound for Pound” #1 Boxer in the world

By: Johnny "Blaze" Robbins - July 21, 2016
 

When you look at the history of Boxing, and the real reason we even discuss pound for pound Champions today, you have to look at how “Sugar” Ray Robinson was able to win multiple world titles in more than one division, and the calibre of fighters that can do this while defeating highly regarded World Champions, especially in three or more weight divisions. The Boxer, who exemplifies this in today’s current era, is Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua.

Gonzalez in 11 years as a professional Boxer, has compiled a record of 45 wins, no loses, along with 38 KO’s! He has already won world titles in three different weight divisions at 29 years old, and even though he made the Flyweight limit for his latest world title fight, he actually walked into the bout weighing 126 lbs. Which means Roman Gonzalez is walking into the actual fight itself, as a featherweight! A full four weight classes above where he is still dominating his topped ranked opposition currently. “Chocolatito” in my opinion, could very well be the next “Manny” Pacquiao typed fighter who wins world titles in 8 different weight classes. A feat only Pacquiao himself has ever attained. And considering, that Roman Gonzalez won his first world title at Minimum weight, 8 years ago at only age 21, he definitely deserves to be recognized for his pound for pound accomplishments to date, more so than any other active fighter in Boxing today.

In a new world of boxing, where champions fight at catch-weights for bouts, and even disregard world title belts all together, often so the promotional companies in charge of the Boxer’s careers, can come to an agreement financially to terms that allow a lot of these high grossing, modern day “Super Fights” to occur. Look at what Floyd Mayweather Jr. a former pound for pound king of boxing had accomplished, as he’s an amazing 5 divisional world champion. When Floyd was previously retired, Manny Pacquiao was the pound for pound #1 ranked Boxer in the world, and as mentioned, “PacMan” Pacquiao holds the current record at world titles in 8 different weight divisions. I could see “Chocolatito”, with his precision punching ability and superior boxing skill and talent, moving up in many more weight classes. No doubt. And with the interest building in Nicaragua’s favourite fighter of the modern era, especially on TV and PPV in the United States, it’s also possible that this 29 year old Boxing phenom could potentially equal Pacquiao’s unreal record. Maybe even win 8 world titles in different weight divisions? ...Who knows? Roman Gonzalez has slick movement defensively, and solid footwork, with big power still in his 3rd division as world champion, and really only his 5’3” stature is holding him back from moving up in weight so easily.

Gonzalez is naturally walking into the ring at Featherweight, and is setting his sights on the next two divisions in front of him, as he has already publicly stated he intends to win world titles at Super Flyweight and then at Bantamweight, and the thought itself, is not that farfetched at all. Gonzalez “Defines” pound for pound with what he has already accomplished, but his next world title fight in September against Carlos Cuadras, is in fact for his 4th division title, the WBC Super Flyweight belt. A win in that fight will definitely be an exclamation mark on an already extensive and impressive professional record! ...and with Floyd Mayweather now retired, “Chocolatito” is the obvious choice to step in, and wear that crown of “Pound for Pound” Boxing King.

Gonzalez has made the “little weights” a lot more popular, in both hardcore boxing fans minds, as well as with the top TV promotion in boxing Premier Boxing Champion’s shows recently. Which have actually seen a Flyweight, as one of their top attractions?! It’s been a very long time since someone weighing in at only 112 lbs, has captivated audiences with overwhelming performances, against true upper echelon talent, constantly and consistently, and all the while scoring KO’s. And Ramon Gonzalez right now, is doing just that.

With “Chocolatito”’s spectacular boxing skill, and punches in bunches style, (behind a solid jab often as well), while consistently throwing combinations of 3 and 4 (or more) punches at a time (much like a minimum weight does ironically enough, as smaller fighters have always tended to throw more punches per round, than the heavier weighted Boxers do) and Gonzalez is also scoring with extremely high connect percentages on those blows as well. Roman Gonzalez is flat out exciting to watch! And he has also been a big draw to watch live in person, and on TV, because Roman Gonzalez is also a crowd pleasing, pure power puncher. Like Manny Pacquiao before him, as Gonzalez moves up in weight in these earlier divisions, his power seems to be increasing with his size as well. Gonzalez has KO’s in four of his five world title fights at Flyweight, four of his six world title fights at Light Flyweight, and he won all four of his world title bouts at Minimum weight by KO.

I think The Ring Magazine has it correct, that indisputably, even though he’s a relatively unknown fighter over here in North America in common circles, and in general in the media. Roman Gonzalez, as The Ring Magazine has it...is the #1 P4P Boxer currently active today. “Chocolatito” is already a legend in boxing circles around the globe, especially in his hometown of Nicaragua. And what’s not to like about this crisp, well rounded boxer, who can either outclass his opponent with pure boxing skill, like “Money” Mayweather so often did. Or go in for the kill, and take his opponent out, almost like a Heavyweight, with crashing KO’s in so many of his world title bouts. This Flyweight Champion moving up in weight for a Super Flyweight title has every tool you’d want in a pound for pound Champion. And also like other former pound for pound greats, Roy Jones Jr. (a 4 division world champion), Oscar de la Hoya (a 6 division world champion), and even “Sugar” Ray Robinson himself, before Gonzalez, “Chocolatito”’s accomplishments inside the ring, absolutely exemplify the boxing term “Pound for Pound”.

The other current top contenders for the title of #1 P4P Boxer, would have to be topped off by American former super middleweight superstar world champion, Andre Ward. A former world champion who has dominated the best opposition out of the top 5 P4P Boxers around today in my opinion, but one who has also been quite inactive over recent years, due to his shoulder issues. So we really won’t see where he stands in today’s boxing market for certain, until he returns to the ring in his second bout as a light heavyweight in August. I have Andre Ward currently owning the #2 spot, one spot ahead of Sergei Kovalev, the Light Heavyweight Champion and machine, as well as indisputably one of the fastest rising stars of professional boxing today, no doubt about it. The Kovalev versus Ward match-up is definitely worthy of the Title “Super Fight”, and I hope the fans indeed get that match-up inside the ring, under the bright lights of pay per view, scheduled to take place in November, as long as both Boxers remain healthy during “tune-up bouts”. Kovalez has already kept up his part of the bargain, successfully defending his 3 World Title belts on July 11th, 2016.

At #4 I have thee absolute fastest rising Professional Boxer in the business, “Triple G” (GGG) Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin! “GGG” is a devastating Middleweight power puncher that has end of your seat Mike Tyson kind of finishes in his gloves. Though Golovkin has yet to face the thresh hold of his potential as a fighter, he has also yet to build up the credentials on his pro record, that the Boxers ranked above him pound for pound have. Guillermo Rigondeaux isn’t even on my top 5 pound for pound list because of the same reason. Though like “Triple G” I can see Rigondeaux having a high numbers of wins left in the gas tank of his career. And though the two are the extreme opposite kind of fighter, as far as how many fans view their styles, as well as their fights. These two boxers are definitely worthy of being talked about in any conversation concerning pound for pound rankings, and who’s up at the top! Triple G’s supreme power however, is something of a movement in modern day boxing, with the way he has impressed the diehard boxing fans already. You can only expect that Golovkin’s stock will keep rising, and unbelievably extremely fast too. As long as he keeps putting out the dominating performances he has been, with finishes that rival anyone in the sport of boxing, in any era!

To round out my top five ranked pound for pound best boxer’s of today. I’d have to say that Canelo Alvarez also deserves to be recognized for the opposition he has defeated inside the boxing ring to date. Alvarez has bested world class opposition for many years now, and has also racked up a lot of wins overall, going all the way back to when he was only 15 years old. With the only exception being his sole loss to Floyd “Money” Mayweather who is the only Boxer to ever defeat Canelo Alvarez. It’s hard to imagine that Alvarez is now only 26 years old, especially when you consider the amazing 47 wins he has compiled already. “Canelo” or “Cinnamon”, also lands with supreme punching power, and is an utter force to be reckoned with, having won world titles in two different weight classes to date. The middleweight showdown between Alvarez and “GGG” is another fight in the world of pro boxing that really should happen, and likely will right after a legal issue between Canelo Alvarez’s promoter Golden Boy Promotions, in matters which involve Alvarez, are concluded inside the legal system. This too is a competition between phenomenal Boxer’s that is undoubtedly worthy of the title “Super Fight”.

Part of what makes “Chocolatito” so deserving of the top spot, pound for pound in the sport of boxing. Is that when you round out the top five active fighters today, Roman Gonzalez is looking to double the amount of weight classes travelled by his closest counterpart. With Gonzalez vowing for that 4th divisional world championship victory, in his rear view, out of the other top 5 Boxers in the sport, none have yet to surpass championships in 2 weight divisions. Who truly deserves this spot better? Gonzalez has the kind of style to the way he approaches the sweet science, both from a technique standpoint, as well as from a physically dominating power puncher, who scores a lot of knockout victories standpoint. That I also think “Chocolatito” has the highest ceiling of potential in boxing today. However, when you try and look into the crystal ball and see what the future of Boxing has in store for its millions of fans. It’s always hard to say. Especially considering both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are expected to return to the ring in the near future. Those additions would immediately put “Pacman” and “Money”, right back on the list of top pound for pound active boxers in the sport, with Mayweather leading the way once again, as the number one Pound for Pound Boxer in the business.

Boxing as a sport is practised all over the globe. And unlike many sports, this one seems to resonate strongly even in impoverished areas. Matter of fact, it has been known to excel and thrive there! So the fact that the current best in the business is a fighter from Nicaragua, who once again, as many stories of boxing greatness before him have told, also came from extremely humble beginnings. And amazingly enough in this case, he’s also a Professional Boxer, who as it happens, was trained by the legendary Alexis Arguello himself, a former world champion in four different weight divisions. It really should come as no surprise that Roman Gonzalez has turned his potential, and in ring experience, alongside his pedigree of training, into an amazing hall of fame worthy boxing career already. And at only 29 years old, he’s definitely not done yet. But if, and when, Gonzalez equals his great mentor Alexis Arguello’s feat of 4 divisional world titles, that will undoubtedly be the crowning moment thus far, in the current “Pound for Pound” King of the Boxing Ring, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez’s, illustrious career!  No Doubt...

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Molineaux: From Bondage to Baddest Man on the Planet
A Review by: Johnny "Blaze" Robbins - July 20, 2016

Bill Calogero’s first historical novel, about a man who should have been, the first ever Bare Knuckle Boxing World Champion, is a thrilling true life story, about slavery, black slavery in America, to be specific, and one man’s desire to be the World’s Greatest Boxer. Tom Molineaux was born into bondage on a plantation, as a slave in Virgina. But somehow after a series of unforeseeable events, that led to this black American slave getting the chance to literally fight for his freedom. And the rise through the ranks of American professional boxing, that have all but been erased from 19th century American History. Tom Molineaux would eventually travel across the ocean to fight for a title, not yet even conjured up! A World Boxing Title!

The Author, Bill Calogero’s round by round accounts, of the ruthless battles that Molineaux endured throughout his illustrious Professional career, are absolutely awe striking. His use of real coverage from Great Britain, from the most notable boxing writers and historians of the era, is also a priceless part of his presentation, of this hidden gem, of a real life rags to riches story. Indisputably this is a story that needs to be told, and added into the laurels of professional boxing history. Bill Calogero does an excellent job of detailing this once revered “Sonny” Liston, or Mike Tyson-esque Black American Hero ‘s life, while not holding out any punches about the lifestyle that Tom Molineaux eventually enjoyed at the famed Horse and Dolphin Country Inn, in London England, outside of the squared circle.

Much like the Quentin Tarantino movie Django Unchained, Calogero’s true to life tale of the first fight Molineaux would ever battle through. A bare knuckle affair, which somewhat followed the round rules of the time. When a round was ended, only after one of the combatants hit the ground, and a new round would commence if the felled boxer was able to continue after the thirty second count. Tom Molineaux, the slave, would have to fight his first true contest, as a battle to the death. And to top it off, as incentive, his slave master had made a promise to his prized worker and friend, that if he could win, considering the amount of the wager involved, Molineaux could earn himself his own freedom.   

In the modern era of professional boxing, or prizefighting, which was illegal in England in the early 1800’s, dark skinned champions are the norm. And the color of one’s skin has little to nothing to do, with who gets a fair crack and a world championship title. But during the era of the terrifying Tom Molineaux, the black man was looked upon, and treated in a way that would cause world outcry today. (That may be part of the reason why his story, from slavery to American boxing champion, isn’t so easily researched in America? You can decide for yourself).

Trained in the “sweet science” by the owner of the Horse and Dolphin Country Inn, a man known in this historic time of the bare knuckle era, as Bill “the Black Terror” Richmond, Molineaux would become a true student and practitioner of the art of boxing, and ultimately like Richmond had done before him, take on any comer willing to step inside the ropes with him. Molineaux’s ultimate goal was to bring glory to America, and defeat the undisputed British boxing champion. A feat “the Black Terror”, his friend and ultimately his trainer from London, England, had once attempted after his own historic victories between the ropes against Britain’s top ranked opposition. But what happened on that rainy day fight for his life, in front of a whopping ten thousand plus fans, in the illegal outdoor venue at Copthall Common in East Grinstead, Sussex. With spectators travelling from far and wide by horse and buggy, and on foot, to see the first ever world title fight, about thirty miles outside of London, when Tom Molineaux, would finally have his shot at immortal greatness, versus undisputed British boxing champion Tom Cribb. Is something completely out of this world! And Calogero shares this story with the reader, using a number of historic ringside accounts, with round by round coverage, in all of its bloody and gruesome, brutal detail.

Tom Molineaux’s life was just as much a horror story, as it was a story of a legendary rise from bondage, to athletic superiority. In this current age, where international cultural tensions are at an all time high, and where attempts to explain the history of the world, in all of its honesty, regardless of how horrifying awful the truth may be. Calogero does a wonderful job of digging up a lost artifact, and providing living proof, of an athletic journey that should not be forgotten by time. An American black man’s struggle and his desire for more, that led him to the brink of the unthinkable. This is a travesty in sports that truly has no parallel today. And yet the lessons that can be learned by reading this story, in many ways equal those of the downfall of Mike Tyson. Also this one man’s will to do the in-perceivable, even though he was mocked and called a crazy man, is comparable to the rise of such notable early black world boxing champions as Jack Johnson, and even the world shocking rise of “The Greatest of All Time”, Muhammad Ali. Tom Molineaux’s story deserves to be told. And Bill Calogero did a great job of covering this should be American Legend’s life, a tale that reads like a Hollywood movie that would have Rocky Balboa himself shuttering in awe over. Definitely a must read...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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